'Eating the Sun' is the story of the discovery of a miracle: the source of life itself. This book explains how biologists discovered photosynthesis and through it found a new understanding of the history of our planet and how life is inconceivable without it. Photosynthesis is the most mundane of miracles. It surrounds us in our gardens and parks and countryside; even our cityscapes are shot through with trees. It makes the sky blue and nature green. That greenery is the signature of the pigments with which plants harvest the sun; wherever nature offers us greenery, the molecular machinery of photosynthesis is making oxygen, energy and organic matter from the raw material of sunlight, water and carbon dioxide. We rarely give the green machinery that brings about this transformation much thought, and few of us understand its beautifully honed mechanisms. But we are dimly aware that those photosynthetic mechanisms are the basis of our lives twice over: the ultimate source of all our food and the ultimate source of all our breaths. 'Eating the Sun' will foster and enrich that awareness.
And by connecting aspects of photosynthesis that are vital to our lives to the crucial role its molecular mechanisms have played through more than two billion years of the earth's history, 'Eating the Sun' will change the way the reader sees the world.
Oliver Morton is a science writer and journalist. He has written extensively for New Scientist, Nature and a range of National broadsheets.